Hugh MacNeill of Balevullin
Series of five photographs of Hugh MacNeill of Balevullin demonstrating how his mother would make a craggan.
Courtesy of Mr George Holleyman
Hugh MacNeill of Balevullin, Tiree demonstrates how his mother, Flora MacNeill, would make small clay pots known as craggans which were believed to have special healing properties particularly in the case of consumption.
After selecting a large lump of local clay, it was carefully worked by hand into a vessel with a neck and everted rim. The finished pot was allowed to dry then baked in the ashes of the fire. Milk was poured into and over it while still hot to make the surface less porous.
The photographs were taken by George Holleyman, an archaeologist posted to RAF Tiree during World War II. He later published a paper ‘Tiree Craggans’ in the journal ‘Antiquity’.